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DJ Spinderella : Technology Is A Great Tool But Don’t Let That Be Your Foundation

Growing up as kid in the early 1990’s when Hip-Hop was still in its infant stage, there was one female act that reigned supreme: Salt N Pepa. The group which included three of the sexiest women on the planet provided some of my fondest childhood memories.

I mean who could deny their hits and it was always something special about the lady behind the turntables: DJ Spinderella. I remember me and my friends would argue about who was the sexiest member of the group, and someone would always say “Salt N Pepa are cool, but Spinderella is the baddest.”

Earlier this week I had a chance to interview the legendary DJ Spinderella and we discussed everything from music tech, the art form of Djing and her role in the fight against Diabetes.

How have the advancements in the technology affected the dj culture?
It’s made it a lot easier and simplified it. It’s a lot less work in comparison to the days when we use to carry around crates of records and tempo count ourselves. It’s automatic now.

How do you think that simplification has affected the creativity of the art form?
You still can utilize creativity, but of course in some ways it has created a numbing effect. You don’t have to exercise the parts of the brain that you use to have to. But, there are some Dj’s that make great use of the technology and become creative.

Do you still devote time to listening to new music?
Oh Yeah! That’s the fun part. The old school way of doing it was: you would buy the record, read the credits and play the records. I’m what you would call a “Turntablist,” so I would spend a lot of time going to the record store and searching for music.

Nowadays, you can purchase music online, but you don’t get the same elements or feelings that we use to. It was so much fun back then, just a classic feeling.

How do you find most of the new music you listen to right now?
I’ll purchase music online. Also, I love going to antique shops that have old records. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I find that very rewarding. Plus, you can hit every avenue by incorporating the new school way of doing things with the old school way.

Did it take time for you to gain respect from your male dj counterparts?
Of course it did, lol. It was hard to get respect, because most people looked at is as a novelty of a female doing a man’s job. I had to prove that wrong, and it wasn’t easy because when you saw me with Salt N Pepa back in the days I was learning something new.

I was learning something new and I was basically learning it in front of the audience. So, It took a while for it to become comfortable to me. People would always say ” I wanna battle you” or “She’s cute but she can’t DJ.” (Laughs)

Is Twitter good or bad for Hip-Hop?
Twitter is an Excellent tool! We didn’t have Twitter, Facebook or any form of social media back then. It was basically word of mouth, tv and radio.

Twitter is just another avenue to promote, stay updated on whats going on, and now you don’t have to wait hours for the news to deliver things in the wrong way. It’s an excellent tool, it just depends on how people utilize it.

After so many years in the game, what gets you excited?
Umm, I’m probably more passionate about the art form of Djing than ever. Well probably not ever because you can’t really match that feeling of what was happening when Hip-Hop first started.

However, I have created this world for myself where I appreciate things more despite all of life’s obstacles because it’s a gift to be able to still exhibit my talent and inspire people.

What inspires me most is to see younger dj’s with a real appreciation of the art form and I love to see the way it has expanded to a global art form. I just love to see the newer DJ’s studying the history, reaching back and still using turntables.

Why did your radio show “The Backspin” end?

It’s never ended it’s just been in a hiatus for a while. To be honest, I’m getting a lot of request for it to come back and I have been seriously thinking about it. I have another partner, Mo Dave, who helped me to produce it. It was a lot of reasons why it slow down. You know, radio was going through some changes and so when the market began to weaken it took more work for me to put a show together.

I started working from online and when I moved from LA things kinda changed. We have an archive and inventory of shows for ten years so when the time is right we will put it out. That was like a cornerstone or era in time that people will want to capture. So when the time is right I will probably reproduce them and put them out again.

What is your favorite Salt N Pepa song?
God, Lol. I have a few. I love the first album, even though I wasn’t a part of the group then. I love the second album as well. So, I would say a lot of my favorite songs are on those two. Classic records like “I’ll Take Your Man,” “My Mic Sounds Nice,” and one of my favorites is “I Desire.”

If you move along and as we grew up we started to clean the song up and make it more acoustically pleasing and we had songs like “Whatta A Man,” and “Shoop.” The last album which never took off like we wanted it to was called “Brand New” – that was a great album as well. It’s really hard to name just one

Since become a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association has your health/lifestyle changed?
It’s been almost year since I committed myself to the cause and helping to raise money and awareness to the cause. For me it’s just paying attention to my health and what I eat. When we get older we don’t have it like we use to. (Laughs) So we definitely want to create that lifestyle that gives us the health and the energy that allows you to be alert and increases your life span. I’m juicing more, working out more, but I’m totally not perfect.

My role is to help provide awareness and bridge the gap between those who know about the ADA and those that don’t know. A lot of people don’t realize that there is information and help that is life saving.

What advice would you give to a young Dj?
The best advice is to know where you came from. Technology is great tool but don’t let that be your foundation. Also, remember that Hip-Hop started with the DJ. It rounds you off and its also fun to incorporate the old shool way of Djing with the new school way. Also incorporate yourself as a brand, because you’re not just playing music – you are a business.